The giraffe that once was intended to tower over the “Wooden Menagerie” exhibit on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill instead has its neck and head in ignoble display outside its entrance.
The 11-foot wooden construction by the Tesuque artist Felipe Archuleta (1910-1991) just has too many nicks and missing chunks to reign in its full majesty at the Museum of International Folk Art.
It needs repair and, with funding and on-staff conservator availability limited, the Museum of New Mexico is launching what’s believed to be its first crowd-funding campaign to get the work done.
“It’s a valuable experience no matter what happens,” said Shelley Thompson, marketing director, who proposed the experiment in fundraising. “Even if we don’t meet the goal, we will learn some things. It will take a series of tests to see if this is a viable fundraising solution.”
The campaign is taking place on Indiegogo, accessible throughInternationalFolkArt.org/brokebackgiraffe, and the goal is $10,000. That will give a good start to the conservation work, which could cost up to $15,000, she said.
While the head and neck are on view at the museum with an appeal for help in restoring it, the remainder of the colorful yellow and brown giraffe stands among a host of other artifacts in a storage room at the museum. At its feet are sealed bags holding small bits that have broken off, along with a chunk of the hump joining the shoulder and neck, where the animal’s mane first sprouts.